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Timberwolves have coaches, front office members who could be candidates for promotions

Numerous members of Minnesota’s coaching staff and front office have positioned themselves to potentially get promotions elsewhere this offseason.

Those are obviously decisions to come in future weeks, but the Timberwolves’ organizational success should shine a brighter light on the others who’ve been integral to Minnesota’s rise, though maybe not always as publicly highlighted.

Micah Nori’s name obviously jumps off the list. The Wolves’ assistant coach specializes in game management, a useful skill set for a potential head coach. Nori has quite literally been center stage in the Western Conference semifinals against Denver, stalking the sidelines as Wolves head coach Chris Finch sits courtside to protect his injured knee.

Nori has been a reported candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers’ open coaching position, could be interviewed for that opening, as well. The Washington Wizards’ position is also open.

But coaching vacancies are strangely scarce. Other coaches on staff, though, could be in line for promotions. Finch has previously said Kevin Hanson should be in line to run a defense of his own. He has played a key role working alongside Wolves defensive coordinator Elston Turner to help run the NBA’s clear-cut No. 1 defensive unit.

Wolves assistant coach Pablo Prigi helps Finch run Minnesota’s offense. Perhaps he could be in play to be a lead assistant elsewhere.

On the front office side, Timberwolves senior vice president of basketball operations Matt Lloyd was recently a finalist to run Charlotte’s basketball operations. He and Sachin Gupta, the executive vice president of basketball operations, have played major roles in establishing one of the NBA’s deepest, most-talented rosters in the NBA in Minnesota.

Then there’s current president of basketball operations Tim Connelly – Minnesota’s basketball boss. Connelly has an opt out in his current contract that he’d likely be wise to take, likely to renegotiate to work his current gig at an even bigger salary figure. But other teams – like Detroit – are already reportedly expected to do their best to pry Connelly away from Minnesota, just as the Wolves did to Denver two offseasons ago.

Minnesota is cap-strapped and could feature little roster movement this summer, but there could be some reshuffling at other levels.

Wacky series

Ahead of Game 7, Denver coach Michael Malone called this Western Conference semifinals “one of the strangest series I’ve ever been a part of” because of the lack of close contests.

Game 1 featured the only truly competitive fourth quarter out of the first six games.

“I’ve noticed in the playoffs over the last four or five years there have been a lot of those larger swings between game to game,” Finch said. “I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just some of the volatility of the game, in general, these days. Familiarity plays, certainly, a role. … Sometimes, you just kind of play in a really good vein and get super comfortable. But no, I can’t explain it, either.”

Briefly

Sunday’s Game 7 marked the 20th time Minnesota and Denver squared off over the past two seasons.

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